The necessity of Small Groups: Live Together or Die Alone

In my last post,  "The necessity of relationships and social media", we saw the necessity of connecting with others.  We largely focused on the human need for connection and one of the ways people express that need.  Social media websites are useful and helpful.   However social media interaction is just scratching the surface on human connection. 

It is great to have people comment on your latest status update on Facebook.   It is even refreshing to have somebody "ReTweet" something you said on Twitter.  However, we were made for much deeper social connectivity.  This is a universal truth that can be seen everywhere. Take a look at some of the better know TV Shows of late.

Lost Lost: a show about what happens when a plane crashes on a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere.  It is a story of 48 survivors who must "Live together or die alone".  That quote from the season 2 premiere displayed the need for the survivors to stick together no mater what.  The survivors needed each other to survive.  When the show ended we all saw how important these people were to each other in their lives.  


Fringe: A show about weird phenomenons happening in the world. Large_fringe-cast  TheFringe division of the FBI investigates all of these weird cases.  However the show is much more about the Fringe Sciences they are investigating.  Olivia, Peter, Walter, Astrid & Agent Broyles are the main characters of the show. The show is about how this group of people come together and must rely on each other.  Their reliances and closeness takes them from alternate universes to mutating underground children.  Yep.  Just go watch it. 🙂  

Tv_how_i_met_your_mother01 How I Met Your Mother: A show about 5 friends that live in New York City.  It's told in a narrative style from a father who is telling his 2 teenage children the story of "How I Met Your Mother".  During the course of the story you see how much this group is dependent on each other.  They fight, laugh, cry as they experience life together.  

Seinfeld: How can we forget about this show.  This show is probably one of the best known sit-com's of all time.  A very funny show that again centered around a group of 4 friends living life in …. NYC. Seinfeld  

 Jerry, George, Kramer, & Elaine….what a bunch.   One of the 'givens' of this show is that you can bank that everybody will eventually make their way to Jerry's apartment.  They weren't always the best people…especially to each other….but they all knew that they needed each other.  

In so many more ways, the people of God, should be closer than 4-5 friends experiencing life in NYC.  The first group of Christians understood this truth.  You need a group of people that you can call upon when you need them.  You need people who will tell you the truth…even when you don't want to hear it.  You need other people to support you when you fall.  You need people to cheer you on when you are down.   Not only do you need them.    They need you!  Look at these verses from the book of Acts.

Acts 4

32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

 That's what a church is.  A church is : a group of people who have given themselves to following Jesus and his ways with God's people.  The greek word for church, 'ekklesia' means 'called out assembly'.  It's a group of people who believe and claim that Jesus is Lord.  They are proclaiming to the world, that the ways of Jesus, bring, hope, healing and resurrection to a lost and dying world.  They understand that they are in it together.  They need each other.  
A church is a group of people who do life together.  Lots of churches today have small groups that meet throughout the week.  That is a great thing.  However….I fear that the reason that many of these groups are not effective are because they have the wrong focus.  Many times, the focus of these groups is the bible study or the lesson.  It is not different than a Sunday School Class.  Not much different than a Sunday Morning Worship Service.  A 'bible study' or discussion can be involved in these groups…. but what about the time to connect?  We don't need another Bible Study. We are quite good at that.  What we stink at….is having genuine relationships.  
We need a time for people to put the things that they have learned in context with other people.   Are the small groups at your church a bible study?  Or are they a chance to 'do life together'? Small Groups will really reveal the organic nature of the church.   A successful church will be classified as one "of small groups" not "with small groups". There is a big difference!  Who are you connecting with?  Who are you doing life with?  This is a major part of your faith!

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